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Abstract

In a study of the relationship between high school students' perceptions of their science learning environments and their motivation, learning strategies, and achievement, 377 students in 22 introductory science classrooms completed surveys in the fall and spring of their ninth-grade year. Hierarchical linear regression was used to model the effects of variables at both the classroom and individual level simultaneously. High intraclass agreement (indicated by high parameter reliability) on all classroom environment measures indicated that students shared perceptions of the classroom learning environment. Controlling for other factors, shared perceptions that only the most able could succeed in science classrooms and that instruction was fast-paced and focused on correct answers negatively predicted science achievement, as measured on a districtwide curriculum-linked test. Shared perceptions that classrooms focused on understanding and independent thinking positively predicted students' self-reported satisfaction with learning. Implications of these results for both teaching and research into classroom environments are discussed. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Res Sci Teach 40: 347–368, 2003